n FROM MEHEMET ALI TO THE OCCUPATION 41
for the former swallowed the latter. The Khedive and his supporters leant more and more to Turkish intervention as their one hope of salvation, and Arabi once more proceeded to take strong measures against the old Turkish element in the army. The Administration was paralysed. The foreign communities dreaded an anti-European outbreak. The British and French representatives were at last driven to take a step which had it been taken earlier might have been effective. They demanded the resignation of the Cabinet and the retirement of Arabi from Egypt and of his two chief coadjutors into the interior. The military party were for a moment frightened into submission, and the Cabinet resigned, but none ventured to take its place, and after a short interval of chaos Arabi was reinstated.
A British fleet arrived before Alexandria, but Arabi was induced by Mr. Wilfrid Blunt and other European sympathisers to believe that Gladstone would never sanction single-handed British intervention and that the French would never agree to co-operate. He was grievously misled on the former point. The Sultan, it is true, had still to be reckoned with, for, at the instance of the Powers, two High Commissioners, reported to be carrying far more definite instructions than the earlier Ottoman mission, landed at Alexandria. But Arabi had not much cause to fear them, for each had separate instructions and, after Abdul Hamid's wont, of an opposite character. A sudden outburst of fanaticism in Alexandria, -where over fifty Europeans were brutally massacred on June llth by a Mahomedan mob, precipitated the catastrophe towards which all parties had been blindly moving. The Powers made a last attempt to avert the storm by convoking a Conference of Ambassadors at Constantinople, but the Sultan hesitated to take part in it. On July llth he sent an assurance to the British Ambassador, Lord Dufferin, that on the very next day " he would be able to propose a satisfactory solution of the Egyptian question." But Sir Beauchamp Seymour was already bombarding the forts of Alexandria, in Confusion became worse confounded when Gambetta